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Saturday, 21 June 2014

BABA GHANOUSH

Good Evening to you,


Advice is often given about the do's and the don'ts of blogging.  One of the pieces of advice which I have read, is to post regularly on the days which one is expected to post.

As you will have noticed, I have been sadly lacking in that department just lately.

Over the past couple of weeks, we have had highs and lows and since I spoke to you last, one of the lows was receiving an evening phone call from my mother, Phyllis, telling me that she had slipped and fallen whilst shopping in her local supermarket. She had been taken by ambulance to the hospital, where it was discovered that she had broken her finger.

Now I think you will know by now, that Phyllis, at the age of 83 years is a very independent lady, but I was later to discover that the fall had really shaken her. 

When she rang she told me about the accident, and that I was not to worry as she was alright, but her voice told me another story. So after discussion with my sister, George and I drove down the M1 to stay with Phyllis.  

Danielle arrived at Phyllis' house early the following morning and spent the day helping her, because as you can imagine, trying to do simple tasks with a broken finger is no easy feat and Danielle knew Phyllis would be trying to carry on as normal. We arrived late in the evening, the day after the accident, to be greeted by a very subdued Phyllis. I took one look at her finger and knew we had to re-visit the hospital.  I had expected to find her finger to be swollen, but I noticed  she had a ring on her broken finger, which was making the problem worse and I felt it really needed to be removed. Phyllis wears two rings, her wedding ring and a ring which her brother, my Uncle Tom, bought for her many years ago and which she treasures.  Apparently the para medics had asked if they could remove the ring, but Phyllis, in a state of shock, would not allow it, but it was a decision which had to be made. She kept saying her finger would be alright, but I knew it would not be alright.  So I persuaded her to visit the Fracture Clinic with me the following day so a doctor could take a look at her finger and make the decision as to whether or not the ring needed to be removed.  I am so pleased I did, because the doctor agreed, the ring certainly had to be removed. 

I think, for me, it was the shock.  Phyllis does not take any medication, she is as fit as a fiddle, so when something like this happens, it reminds me of her fragility.  I spoke to her today and you will never guess what she told me she had been doing... she had only removed the sheets from her bed, washed them, hung them out to dry and remade her bed.... yes with a broken finger.  I asked why she did not wait until my brother popped over to see her and she told me, "There is no point in moping around, you have to get on with things and anyway the doctor told me to keep my finger moving"  I said I'm sure the doctor did, but not to that extreme..... but that is Phyllis for you..... independent to the end.

So the upshot is, the ring has been removed and Phyllis is on the mend, albeit slowly.

So we are getting back to normal, but I am in constant touch with Phyllis to make sure she is alright...... and just in case you are wondering why I did not bring her back to stay with me, when I asked, she said it was a kind offer, but she wanted to stay and mend in her own home..... yes I can fully understand that.

Now I have told you about one of the lows, so now I will tell you about one of the highs.  The time finally arrived for us to go to the Dolly Parton concert and I have to tell you she was marvellous. We had the most fabulous evening and when Dolly walked on to the stage the audience erupted with applause.... and what a talented lady she is. Did you know Dolly can play nine instruments, we counted each of the nine instruments she played during the evenings performance..... we were amazed.

I asked Natasha and Danielle what their favourite Dolly song was and Natasha said, in terms of audience, on the night experience, 'Islands in the Stream'.  Danielle said that her favourite was definitely '9 to 5' and mine was 'I Will Always Love You'.  I know Whitney Houston sang a wonderful version, but there is something about Dolly's version which I love.

Natasha said she is looking forward to being 68 years, to be able to play 9 instruments (she plays 2 at the moment) and have the ability to sing as well as Dolly, whilst wearing a tight fitting corset.

All in all we had a wonderful evening, Dolly was amazing, with a wonderful sense of humour and I love her giggle.  It is a concert which we will never forget and it was all the more special because I went with Natasha and Danielle.

So it only seems fitting that today I am listening to,


Dolly's new album, Blue Smoke and I love it. Listen to 'Home,' 'Lay Your Hands on Me'.... yes it really is the Bon Jovi song and if that surprises you listen to 'Don't Think Twice' yes, you've guessed it, the Bob Dylan song. I love the whole album.... I have to tell you I do love country music and a few years ago Natasha and I were in Nashville.  At that time we went to hear Roberta Flack sing.... but that is a whole other story.

So whilst I am listening to 'Home' it's on with the pinnie and today we are making,


Baba Ghanoush.  This delicious Middle Eastern dish is made with aubergines and it is very popular in this household.

There are not many ingredients, but this dish is made in two stages, so without further ado, here are the list of ingredients.

INGREDIENTS

3 large aubergines
2 cloves of garlic
2-3 tablespoons of tahini
1 teaspoon of salt flakes
or sea salt
2-3 lemons
1 tablespoon of olive oil
plus a little extra to oil the baking sheet

Pre-heat the oven to 200C

HOW TO MAKE
BABA GHANOUSH


Wash the aubergines

and


using a fork, prick the aubergines
so that the aubergines do not burst open
when cooking.


Place the aubergines on an oiled baking sheet
and bake for 1 hour
or
until the aubergines are cooked.
This took an hour in my oven, but it depends
on the size of your aubergines,
so it might take a little more time
or a little less.

When cooked, remove from the oven
and allow to cool.

Meanwhile


peel 2 cloves of garlic
and


using 1 teaspoon of  salt flakes,


crush the garlic
and set aside for the moment.


When the aubergines have cooled
slice in half and remove
the flesh.


Place a sieve, over a bowl
and using a fork, mash the aubergines
to remove any bitter juices.
Leave to stand for 10 minutes
you will find even more juice
will drain into the bowl.



This is the amount of liquid which
drained through the sieve.

Place the mashed aubergines in a
clean bowl
and



add the tahini,



the lemon juice,



the garlic
and stir well to combine
all the ingredients.

Taste and if needed add a little more
lemon juice and salt.



Place in a bowl
and drizzle over some olive oil
and decorate with either coriander
or flat leaf parsley.



Enjoy 
as part of a meze.
or
with pitta bread
or
 if you prefer,
 some crackers.


I have to mention, that the best way to cook the aubergines, is over a bar-b-que, because if the skins are blackened,  when the skins are removed, the Baba Ghanoush will have a smokey flavour.  We do not have a bar-b-que so I always bake the aubergines in the oven.  

It is difficult to give exact cooking times for the aubergines, because as I mentioned before, it is dependent on the size of the aubergines.  The same applies to the lemons, you may need the juice of 2 lemons, or you may need the juice of 3 lemons.  It depends on how much lemon juice each lemon yields. Do the taste test and if you think more lemon juice and salt is needed, feel free to add more.

Before I go, I wanted to mention that I will be catching up with everyone this week.  I am looking forward to finding out what you have all been up to.

Take care and I will definitely see you on Wednesday.




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